|“||China capitulated, gave into the West, one-hundred years ago. Among all the nations of Asia only Japan has been able to take a stand against them. But in order to continue resisting we must become bigger, stronger, we must plant the seeds of future power now on the Asian continent; and when the moment finally arrives for us to hurry to the aid of the belligered Russia, it will become Japan that will become the supreme ruler of all Eur-Asia!||„|
|~ Minister Ishimura trying to justify his ambitions.|
Minister Ishimura is the shadow ruler of Japan during World War I in the videogame series Shadow Hearts. Ishimura is officially just a member of the Japanese cabinet as Minister of Foreign Affairs but in truth has direct influence over the military, states decisions and national policies of Japan. He is mentioned though not by name in Shadow Hearts and encountered in person in Shadow Hearts Covenant and a main antagonist, though not quite a Big Bad, of the second half of the game after the party leaves Europe. He fueled Nicolai's ambitions of conquering Europe, intended to destroy the western powers through Nicolai as Tsar of Russia, provoked Dehuai, tried to weaponize the demonic powers of the demon Astaroth and killed Lieutenant Colonel Kawashima, in addition to trying to kill main hero Yuri Hyuga for good measure.
Ishimura's Influence in Shadow Hearts
Foreign Minister Kantaro Ishimura, rose to power within the Japanese government and made a national network within it. Presumably he uses threats, blackmail and bribes to control government officials but is far more heavy handed with civilian resistance, rebels and political rivals when he can get away with it, resorting to armored soldiers with heavy weaponry and cutting edge robotics to silence opposition to his ambitions. As the man behind the military he oversaw the occupation of China and made an enemy of the Taoist sage, Dehuai. Dehuai abandoned the peaceful the teachings of his mentor Master Xifa and became set on defending China by using his powers to enslave spirits and summon demons in order to combat Japan and Ishmura, it was in response to Dehuai's supernatural powes that Minister Ishimura sent his best soldier and good friend, Colonel Jinpachiro "Ben" Hyuga. Ben was a, Harmonixer, a person who can absorb spirits and demons into his own soul and reconfigure them to transform himself into a monster. As a harmonixer Ben was expected to be able to counter supernatural threats acting in unofficial capacities for Japan against Dehuai. Ben ended up giving his life to stop Dehuai's plans in China, though Dehuai would eventually re-emerge years later.
When Dehuai did eventually restart anti-Japanese activities Minister Ishimura sent in his best and most troublesome soldier Lt. Colonel Kawashima. Kawashima was charismatic enough to win over many of the soldiers and Chinese alike and was the daughter of one of Ishimura's main political rivals, Naniwa Kawashima, as such soon after her arrival in China Ishimura sent a solider named Masaji Kato to spy on her. Kato was officially joined Kawashima's command post as a geologist named "Seiji" Kato though she was told his main talents were in occultist research, an area she needed council in to deal with Dehuai effectively. Kato however became far more loyal to Kawashima then he was to Ishimura wrote few reports to Ishimura, ones that were always vague as to Kawashima's activities. Kato's efforts may have been towards lessening Ishimura's paranoia but the vague reports only served to further it and a military inquest was launched against Kawashima with he command being "suspended indefinitely" and put under house arrest by Ishimura's agent, Major Kutsugi. Yuri and his friends went to save Kawashima and defeat Ishimura's agents to get answers from Kawashima, who up til then had been spying on Yuri and his friends with the intent of kidnapping them eventually to use their powers to benefit Japan. After Ishimura's agents were defeated though Kawashima became friends with Yuri, halted her pursuit of him and agreed to work with him and his friends to stop Dehuai, a common enemy. Kawashima was given back her command and for a time it seemed as if Ishimura's influence was cut off from China, towards the end of the game the heroes will find out this as not the case however.
Ishimura's intended to use Yoshiko's actions and insolence against Naniwa, Naniwa was left no choice put to distance himself from his daughter officially to continue fighting Ishimura's policies officially, this was just the public action Ishimura needed to excuse his next action without fear of public or military reprisal. Minister Ishimura sent a unit of soldiers to call on Lt. Colonel Kawashima, she was told it was high-priority and even Kato was not privy to it. Shortly after being escorted from the room the soldiers shot Kawashima in the back, as ordered by the Foreign Minister.
Ishimura in Shadow Hearts Covenant
In Shadow Hearts Covenant Yuri encountered Kato again, this time working as a diplomatic agent for Japan in Europe, though in truth he was sent to negotiate with the terrorist group, Sapientes Gladio. Ishimura wanted to make Russia a puppet goverment and a common-wealth of Japan but knew Tsar Nicholas Romanov II would never allow his rule second guessed, however Nicholas's illegitimate son Nicolai, who was second in command of Sapientes Glado, was willing to act on behalf of Japan if they helped him once he killed Rasputin, the head of Sapientes Glado. Rasputin would have the Romanov family killed off then declare Tsar, Nicolai would then kill Rasputin, a less then beloved public figure and "avenge" the Tsar, reveal his tie to the royal family and become the new Tsar himself and Japan would send full resources to aid their recovering neighbor to the north and Nicolai would would give Japan "Russia's undying gratitude". The entire plan would in no way implicate Japan in any wrong doing, make them look charitable in the public eye and assure Japan power over the largest country in Asia.
However Yuri and friends foiled Rasputin's assassination attempt and when Rasputin revealed his demonic powers gained from his pact with the demon lord, Asmodeus, the heroes fought and killed him. Yuri's actions had undone Nicolai's plans as well, a fact Nicolai took particularly hard in light of much planning and a soul pact Nicolai had made with Astraroth, another demon lord, to combat Asmodeus's power. Nicolai gave into Astaroth's influence within himself when Karin, one of Yuri's team who Nicolai had fallen in love with, rejected his advances. Acting out of rage Nicolai went to the Vatican to release a seal that had filtered one-thousand years of malice within humanity thus releasing the built up malice into the hearts of men. Yuri and friend went to stop Nicolai, but though Nicolai's plans had been undone Ishimura's plans simply adapted, he sent Kato to the Vatican to retrieve Nicolai. Officially Kato was honoring a pact with an ally but in truth Ishimura wanted to extract the power of Astaroth from Nicolai and use him as some sort of weapon or power source. Kato arrived on the scene just after Yuri had defeated the transformed Nicolai, after the battle Astaroth turn back into Nicolai and Kato took custody of him. When Yuri objected Kato fired a warning shot at Yuri and left with Nicolai.
Of course Yuri and friends followed Kato back to Japan, but while they were still catching up to him Ishimura had Nicolai sent to a scientist under his employ named Dr. Hojo, a doctor known for being a sadist willing to do anything for his research. Kato warned Hojo not risk permanent harm to Nicolai as Minister Ishimura intend to still use Nicolai to depose the Russian throne publicly once Astaroth was extracted. Once Yuri and his friend were in Japan Ishimura sent his men to stop them at every turn, when human and robtic troops failed Ishimura sent Garan, an oracle completely loyal to Ishimura, to deal with them. Garan used Kurando, Naniwa's bodyguard and a harmonixer like Yuri and "Ben", as bait to lure Yuri and his friends into a spiritual territory by controlling the spirit he has fused with and forcing him to fight Yuri and his friends. Even after defeating the spirit and bringing Kurando back to his senses the team realized they were now stuck in purgatory. Garan was at the center of the realm and eventually defeated, freeing the party. While Garon returned to report his failure to stop the trouble makers another problem was developing for Ishimura at Hojo's lab.
Though Hojo was a genius he had no concerns for political considerations. Hojo accidentally created a monster called Shoki while attempting extract a portion of Astaroth's power, the beast broke out and began destroying Nihonbashi. Kato was sent to attend to the problem though Yuri and friends soon arrive on the scene as well. Once the monster was defeated Kato returned to meet with Doctor Hojo and the party follow suit. Dr. Hojo was ready to try reclaiming Astaroth this time willing to destroy Nicolai's ego to get at him, as it had been a major wall between Hojo's machine and the demon on more than afew attempts. The machine could only catch Astaroth during certain rare intervals and after the last test that created Shoki went wrong Hojo was tired of playing it safe when the newest flare-up of Astaroth's presence was detected by the machine. Hojo turned his machine on full operating power tossing aside the concern for Nicolai's mental-health to get his prized monster. Kato attempted to stop him but was too late. The machine did indeed break Astaroth out of Nicolai's ego but as Kato explained Nicolai's ego was the one thing keeping the demon in control and Nicolai became completely possessed by Astaroth, who now effortlessly broke free of the machine's restraints and destroyed it. Yuri and friends confronted Astaroth but the demon was uninterested in a fight at the time and teleported away. Kato left right away to find a subdue Astaroth and Yuri and friends escaped the Hojo lab in order to seek council with Kurando's mother a gifted oracle who Kurando ensured them would find Astaroth wherever he was hiding.
On their way to see Kurando's mother, the part encountered a different oracle, Garan. Ishimaura sent Garan to stop them once and for all and make them pay for his loss of Nicolai, Kato, Hojo's lab and all the resources they represented. This time Garan sent the party to hell, but like last time's spiritual territory the party made their way to it's center and confronted fought Garan to get out, this time Garan had made a contracted with the king of ghosts Yama, but was killed in his attempts to stop them and the team was once again freed.
After things had wrapped up with Astaroth, Kato had gone rogue and had his on plans for the future of the world. As a parting gift to Yuri he gave him both the spell book Nicolai had stolen from Yuri's friend Roger, and the information on where to find Minister Ishimura, suggesting that he "Go have a talk with him".Yuri broke into Ishimura's manor and destroyed all his remaining troops. When Yuri demanded answers for all the things Ishimura had done up to that point Ishimura told him that Nicolai was to be the puppet ruler of Russia, that he aimed for Japan to expand and be strong enough to prevent Europe from taking over the east. Ishimura claimed that it was for the greater good as war is only temporary. Yuri was less than empathetic with the Minister but Ishimura remained brave in the face of what looked like his imminent death, he warned Yuri that even if he was killed someone would take his place to see Japan conquer the west. As Yuri closed in on him Ishimura's grandson, Kosuke Ishimura ran out in front of his grandfather telling Yuri not to hurt his grandpa. Yuri was momentarily dumbstruck at the show of compassion for the evil old man...momentarily; Yuri knocked Kosuke across the room to get at Ishimura. Ishimura's bravery vanished the second Kosuke came out in front of him and turned to shear panic when Yuri struck the child begging him not to kill him. Yuri had no interest in hurting the boy, just Ishimura and didn't even turn to look at him keeping his gaze locked on the Minister. Ishimura's show of compassion did not inspire sympathy and if anything made Yuri angrier. Yuri began to beat Ishimura profusely. Yuri asked how many parents had pleaded with his soldiers to spare their children and how many of them were killed anyway for Ishimura's "greater good". Ultimately though Yuri did not finish off Ishimura and left in tears, remebering his mother making smilar pleas when the demons Dehuai had sent came for them.
Though the game never shows what happens to Ishimura after Yuri leaves Roger assures him that it would not matter, Ishimura personal army was destroyed, his top agent was rogue, his mad scientist and sage were dead saying "He's lost it all.". Ishimura's health was also established as very poor and in-fact until he gets on his knees to beg for his grandson's life he had never even left his seat and coughed frequently so his days were numbered with the beating probably not making things any better for his long term health.